The Gadhafi regime's pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability was driven primarily by a security imperative and its desire to deter external interference and intervention in Libya by states in its immediate neighbourhood and further afield. The regime identified Israel's nuclear weapons and long-range delivery capability as a significant threat. The security imperative was bolstered by the American air strikes against Libyan targets in 1986 in retaliation for Tripoli's involvement in international terrorism. The regime became concerned about similar attacks in the future and it appears that the possession of nuclear weapons, or at least creating the impression that Libya was seeking them, was seen as one way to strengthen the country's otherwise limited ability to deter external aggression. Libya's interest in nuclear weapons, and Gadhafi's frequent rhetoric supporting Arab acquisition of the atomic bomb, also reflected the regime's desire to increase its influence in the Arab world, in part by posing as its defender against Israel. 1